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31.07.2019 - 00:00:00

Young Diplomatic Talents from Belt and Road Countries

From June 17th to July 5th 2019, Julia Pallanch and Jendrik Niebuhr, two MA students enrolled at IN-EAST, participated in the third edition of the “Advanced Training Program for Young Diplomatic Talents from Belt and Road Countries” organized by the School of International Relations and Public Affairs (SIRPA) of Fudan University, Shanghai.

Sponsored by the Shanghai Municipal Government, the intensive three-week program recruited fifteen participants from eleven different countries to debate on matters of regional cooperation and global governance under the broader framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Given the significance of the initiative in the curriculum and its centrality for Duisburg being a major transportation hub, the participation of two excellent students of the Master of “Modern East Asian Studies” (MEAS) and Contemporary East Asian Studies (CEAS) was much appreciated by the IN-EAST.

The program touched on a variety of issues related to China’s foreign policy: Through the guidance of leading academics and senior diplomats, the participants were invited to discuss the cultural roots of the BRI, discover bi- and multilateral aspects of the initiative, and examine China’s regional policy in the contrasting fields of cooperation and conflict. The program also expanded on China’s infrastructure policy in Central Asia, diplomatic claims in the South China Sea and the water dispute around the Mekong River in Southeast Asia. In an open academic exchange students addressed the potential risks of the BRI posed by reported “debt traps”, challenges for environment protection and labor rights, and elaborated on potential prospects of deepened global connectivity.

Over the course of the program, participants were given the chance to engage in various group discussions, field trips and presentations. Ms Pallanch (“Sino-Italian partnership: the European response") and Mr Niebuhr (“Criticism amidst cooperation – Germany and the Belt and Road Initiative”) each contributed by holding presentations on the national perception of their respective countries regarding the Belt and Road Initiative. Asked about her personal key take-aways from the program Ms Pallanch underscored new perspectives on the BRI discussing commonly raised concerns but also going beyond European narratives. Meanwhile, Mr. Niebuhr enjoyed the comprehensive covering of China’s foreign policy: “The Belt and Road Initiative spans many countries, each of them dealing with a distinct set of opportunities and challenges. With that in mind, it was instructive to learn about the Chinese way of seeking joint development and conflict management.”

For more information please visit the website of SIRPA (Chinese): http://www.sirpa-en.fudan.edu.cn/